A veteran character actor passes, Hugh Laurie’s still unsure about the future of House, The Addams Family musical has been revamped, The Smurfs is ineligible for an Oscar, The Lone Ranger movie gets a True Blood bad guy, and notable dates in TV history.
The actor best known for playing Police Captain Frank McNeil in the Kojak TV series has died at the age of 90. He passed away in New York on December 16th from cardiac arrest. Frazer appeared on numerous TV shows since the 1950s, including McHale’s Navy, The Untouchables, The Phil Silvers Show, My Favorite Martian, Barney Miller, and The Waltons. He appeared in three versions of Law & Order and recurred on As the World Turns as Lt. McCloskey from 1986-96. He played McNeil on Kojak for all five seasons and reprised the role for the 1983 reunion movie, Kojak: The Belarus File.
The future of the FOX show is still up in the air as the powers-that-be decide whether to make a ninth season. Much of the show’s fate lies with Hugh Laurie who’s only signed through the current eighth season. He tells Ryan Seacrest that no decision has been made yet, even though executive producer David Shore has supposedly already met with FOX and Universal Media to make a final decision. He said that it’s “Too soon to say. We’re still wetting our fingers and sticking them up in the air to see which way the wind’s blowing. There are lots of things to be taken into account… It may very well be [the final season], or we may drive on and see if we can make a clear two decades. Who knows?”
The Addams Family
The Broadway musical received many negative reviews during its 2009 Chicago tryouts and even worse ones for the 2010 Broadway run. The musical has now gone on the road and has undergone further revisions. Nicknamed The Addams Family 3.0, Variety reports it’s “been garnering upbeat reviews and solid business, with dates booked through next summer and plans for international versions in Australia, Brazil and elsewhere falling neatly into place.” A new plot element has been introduced (Gomez lying to Morticia over their daughter’s impending nuptials) which helps to drive the action. In addition, Douglas Sills (The Scarlet Pimpernel) and Sara Gettelfinger (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) “play things for lightness and charm.”
Though the feature film was submitted to the Academy for consideration in the Best Animated Feature category, it’s been ruled that The Smurfs is not eligible. The AMPAS rules that govern hybrid films note that “a significant number of the major characters must be animated, and animation must figure in no less than 75 percent of the picture’s running time.” The Academy has not made any official announcement but it is the only one of the 18 submitted films to be disqualified.
The Lone Ranger
James Frain, the actor who plays menacing vampire Franklin Mott on True Blood, is joining Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, Helena Bonham Carter, and Tom Wilkinson in the new Lone Ranger movie. He’ll be playing “a tough foreman overseeing Chinese and Indian rail workers who works for the story’s chief villain [Wilkinson].” Gore Verbinski is diecting the feature film which starts in six weeks. Last word is that it will be released on May 31, 2013.
ON THIS DAY…
2010: Million Dollar Money Drop debuted on FOX.
2002: Sydney Hansen and Owen Frank were married on NBC’s Providence.
1965: The Dating Game debuted on ABC.
What do you think? Do you think House will go another season? Do you agree that Smurfs shouldn’t be considered for a Best Animated Feature Oscar? Do you remember Dan Frazer’s work?